Bay Area Oyster Farm Shuts Down

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge refused to stop the federal government from shutting down an embattled oyster farm in Marin County’s Tomales Bay.
     Tomales Bay Oyster Co., the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture, and a handful of local restaurants and businesses sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service in July, seeking to prevent the government from closing Drakes Bay Oyster Co.
     But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers refused to issue a preliminary injunction on Sept. 9.
     The plaintiffs claimed that the government’s November 2012 memorandum closing the oyster farm violated its duties under several state and federal laws, including the National Aquaculture Act, the National Environmental Protection Act and the California Coastal Management Program.
     Oysters have been in the Drakes Estero for approximately 80 years, the plaintiffs said. Removing them will degrade the Estero’s famously clean water quality and cause other long-term environmental damage, which the government did not take into account before issuing its decision, according to the complaint.
     Closing Drakes Bay will also cost several small, local restaurants the patronage of loyal customers and thousands of dollars in profits because locally sourced organic shellfish is the heart of their menus, and many cannot afford the cost of shipping in non-local oysters, according to the complaint.
     Drakes Bay closed its retail operations on July 31, but the government agreed to give the plaintiffs 30 days after the court ruled on its motion for preliminary injunction before it must remove all of its operations.

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